1903 April 19, KISHINEV (Bessarabia)
Riots broke out after a Christian child, Michael Ribalenko, was found murdered (Feb. 16). Although it was clear that the boy had been killed by a relative, the government chose to call it a ritual murder plot by the Jews. The mobs were incited by Pavolachi Krusheven, the editor of the anti-Semitic newspaper Bessarabetz, and the vice governor, Ustrugov. Vyacheslav Von Plehve, the Minister of Interior, supposedly gave orders not to stop the rioters. During three days of rioting, forty-seven Jews were killed, ninety-two severely wounded, five hundred slightly wounded and over seven hundred houses were destroyed. Despite a world-wide outcry, only two men were sentenced to seven and five years and twenty-two were sentenced for one or two years. This pogrom was instrumental in convincing tens of thousands of Russian Jews to leave Russia for the West and for Eretz Israel. The child's real murderer was later found.